Medium 9781475823707

Jspr Vol 23-N3

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The Journal of School Public Relations is a quarterly publication providing research, analysis, case studies and descriptions of best practices in six critical areas of school administration: public relations, school and community relations, community education, communication, conflict management/resolution, and human resources management. Practitioners, policymakers, consultants and professors rely on the Journal for cutting-edge ideas and current knowledge. Articles are a blend of research and practice addressing contemporary issues ranging from passing bond referenda to building support for school programs to integrating modern information.

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Notes From the Editor

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

The feature article in this issue is a group interview exploring media relations during a school crisis situation. This topic has generated considerable interest among school administrators since the mid-1990s. Although natural disasters, such as fires, always have been a primary concern, the recent eruption of violent acts has generated a sense of urgency among policymakers, administrators, and the general public. Superintendents and principals who have experienced crisis situations almost always cite having to deal with the media as one of the most difficult tasks during those periods. The interview in this issue is intended to provide you with varying perspectives of what to do and not do if such situations occur in your district or school.

The second article is written by Dr. Marsha Chappelow, a past member of the board of directors of the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) and a member of this journal’s editorial board. Marsha shares the newly developed NSPRA standards for the school public relations profession. In the next issue she will provide reactions to the standards. If you would like to share your thoughts about the standards, please e-mail Marsha (mchappelow@bv229.k12.ks.us) after reading them.

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Working With the Media During a Crisis Situation—Perspectives for School Administrators: Interviews With Kenneth Trump, Albert E. Holliday, Douglas Otto, Edward Seifert, and Brian Woodland

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THEODORE J. KOWALSKI

Achain of violent acts in schools across the nation has led many administrators to wonder how their own district or school would react in the face of a crisis. Superintendents and principals who have experienced these unfortunate situations uniformly offer their colleagues one piece of advice: Be prepared. This recommendation includes being ready to communicate effectively and immediately with the public through media outlets. All too often, however, administrators have underestimated the tenacity of reporters and the extent to which communication shaped public opinion about the crisis situation, about the schools, and about them.

In an effort to provide information that may help administrators to be better prepared to engage in media relations during emergency situations, a panel of five experts was asked to share their views on this topic.

Kenneth Trump, M.P.A., is president of the National School Safety and Security Services, a Cleveland-based national consulting firm specializing in school security and crisis preparedness training, school security assessments, and related consulting services. He is one of the nation’s leading school safety experts and has over 20 years of frontline experience in urban, suburban, and rural school security. He is author of two books (Classroom Killers? Hallway Hostages? How Schools Can Prevent and Manage School Crises and the bestselling book, Practical School Security: Basic Guidelines for Safe and Secure Schools) and over 35 articles on school security and crisis issues.

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New Standards for the School Public Relations Profession

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MARSHA A. CHAPPELOW

As state standards for K–12 education become more prevalent in our school systems, the National School Public Relations Association (NSPRA) has created a set of new standards for the school public relations profession to raise the bar for school public relations practitioners and programs across the nation. These were introduced to members this summer at NSPRA’s 49th annual seminar.

Standards for the profession have been a tradition for NSPRA with the first set being created in the 1970s. According to Rich Bagin, APR, executive director of NSPRA, “These new standards focus on what standards should be in today’s world. Since standards are often seen as the hallmark of a profession, we are proud of our members who helped us accomplish this important task” (personal communication, August 22, 2002).

Two leaders in this team effort of developing the new standards were staff member Ken Muir, APR, and Kathy Miller, APR, the chair of the Standards of the Public Relations Profession Committee. Muir’s initial idea 3 years ago was to create a program through which NSPRA could accredit school public relations programs. But as Muir worked with the NSPRA board to research program accreditation it was decided that new standards should be set first. Muir believes that “These New Standards will give public relations professionals some standards against which to measure their program and the district’s total PR efforts” (personal communication, August 22, 2002).

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Committees and Conflict: Developing a Conflict Resolution Framework

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ANGELA SPAULDING

ABSTRACT: Just as committee work is an undeniable and inescapable reality of life in schools, so is conflict within the life of a committee. The goal of this article is to provide suggestions and direction toward committee development of such a framework and to remind committee members how to understand, direct, guide, and support conflict to achieve the objectives and goals of committee work.

With the move toward increasing community participation in school-level governance, numerous community and school members are finding themselves thrust into new committee roles. As they strive to successfully participate in school-based decision making, they face an undeniable and inescapable reality of committee life—that of conflict. Conflict is a natural by-product of human interaction. Conflict will originate from within the committee itself, and committee members will bring conflict that originated elsewhere into the committee dynamics. But no matter where it originates, conflict has the potential to negatively or positively impact committee success, depending upon the manner in which it is dealt. Dealt with effectively, conflict becomes functional and enhances the performance of a committee. Dealt with ineffectively, conflict becomes dysfunctional and will harm the relationship between committee members as well as hinder attainment of committee goals or objectives. However, many committee members see conflict as purely negative, but that is not always true. What is always true, however, is that conflict does not manage itself. To effectively deal with conflict, committees must have a well-established and understood framework for resolving conflict.

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Connecting the Learning Organization, Strategic Planning, and Public Relations

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BILL THORNTON AND GEORGE PERREAULT

ABSTRACT: Relatively little attention has been given to the interdependent relationships among learning organizations, strategic planning, and public relations. This article examines common perceptions about barriers to effective strategies planning in local school districts. The argument is made that regularly cited problems are really symptoms and not the root causes of failure. More specifically, the failure to comprehend the paradigm appropriately is presented as the primary reason why public schools have not maximized the benefits of this process. The development of a learning organization is then discussed and proposed as an effective step for creating a climate that eradicates this basic obstacle.

During the past two decades, corporate executives have often advocated the use of rational planning and management models for improving public elementary and secondary education. Organizational reengineering, total quality management, management by objectives, and strategic planning are prime examples of these paradigms. A quick Internet search indicates a growing number of local school districts across the nation have incorporated at least the rhetoric of these approaches, especially that of strategic planning.

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